Stochastic analysis of pitch angle scattering of charged particles by transverse magnetic waves

Lemons, Don S.; Liu, Kaijun; Winske, Dan; Gary, S. Peter
November 2009
Physics of Plasmas;Nov2009, Vol. 16 Issue 11, p112306
Academic Journal
This paper describes a theory of the velocity space scattering of charged particles in a static magnetic field composed of a uniform background field and a sum of transverse, circularly polarized, magnetic waves. When that sum has many terms the autocorrelation time required for particle orbits to become effectively randomized is small compared with the time required for the particle velocity distribution to change significantly. In this regime the deterministic equations of motion can be transformed into stochastic differential equations of motion. The resulting stochastic velocity space scattering is described, in part, by a pitch angle diffusion rate that is a function of initial pitch angle and properties of the wave spectrum. Numerical solutions of the deterministic equations of motion agree with the theory at all pitch angles, for wave energy densities up to and above the energy density of the uniform field, and for different wave spectral shapes.


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